Upating Strategies to Address the Evolving Homeless Crisis

The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative is updating its strategies for addressing and preventing homelessness and engaging the public throughout the process.

The Board of Supervisors approved the Homeless Initiative’s original set of strategies in February 2016 after an inclusive and collaborative process that engaged the leaders and representatives of more than 100 community organizations, 30 cities, 25 Los Angeles County departments, and many other stakeholders and members of the public.

Voter approval of Measure H in March 2017 dramatically increased funding for the strategies, and kicked off a massive expansion of the County’s homeless services system in recent years.

Unfortunately, while an estimated 207 people exit homelessness every day, 227 more people fall into homelessness during the same period for various reasons, including the affordable housing shortage, gaps in the social safety net, systemic racism, and economic forces, lately exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Board of Supervisors has called for a reassessment of the strategies to enable the Homeless Initiative to build on proven solutions, make necessary modifications, and develop new approaches.

ALL HANDS ON DECK

In refreshing its strategies, the Homeless Initiative is proposing an “All Hands on Deck” approach that seeks to:

  • maximize the effectiveness of the County’s homeless services system, also known as the Homeless Rehousing System, to increase the number of exits from homelessness;
  • activate the safety net provided by Mainstream Government Systems and fully utilize their programming to prevent and address homelessness, so that the Homeless Rehousing System can remain a system of last resort;

  • create a clearer path for how cities can co-invest with the County in housing and regional outreach; and
  • close racial disparities and advance equity.

COMMUNITY INPUT IS ESSENTIAL

To ensure its updated strategies reflect the priorities of constituents, the Homeless Initiative held a series of virtual meetings to gather public input. In addition, it collected public comment submitted online.

PROFOUND IMPACT

The Homeless Initiative strategies, particularly those funded with Measure H, have already made a profound impact in Los Angeles County.

In the last four years alone, the County’s homeless services system has helped 70,000 people obtain permanent housing and 95,000 obtain temporary shelter, with programs funded in whole or in part by Measure H accounting for 40% and 60% of those placements, respectively.

Check out the Homeless Initiative’s latest Quarterly Report to learn more about current efforts to:

  • outreach to people in encampments
  • provide supportive services to help people stabilize and get on the path to self-sufficiency, such as health and mental health care, substance use disorder treatments, criminal record clearing, benefits enrollment, and job training and employment opportunities
  • place people in interim housing, such as shelters, until permanent housing can be found for them

  • place people in permanent housing
  • prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place.